Kestrel

It was 1964 and my 12-year-old self waited in line to see the new documentary by Jacques Cousteau, World without Sun. I was enthralled. Men living on the sea floor – aquanauts. Cooler still was the ‘diving saucer’ which looked like an underwater space vehicle. I loved everything about the film and read up on their work and research. Even at that age I was besotted with everything to do with the ocean, and work of Cousteau on his ship the Calypso added fuel to the fire. I want to explore the sea when I grow up!

A few years later, a new TV series was launched, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea. Looking back at it now, the series was silly, but I loved it at the time. I wanted to be a member of the crew of a submarine like the Seaview in the show.

Taking a riff from Cousteau, the series had a cool ‘diving saucer’ like vehicle called the flying sub – because it could not only dive underwater, it also could fly above the clouds.

Great idea, but… the more I investigated this cool piece of equipment, the more I wondered how it would actually work. The version in the show did not ring true as workable technology.

Fast forward fifty years as I began crafting the story of Pelagia. I still pondered how you could actually build an amphibious aircraft like Seaview’s flying sub. It felt within our reach technologically. So, after some research, I developed plans for an amphibious craft named Kestrel, which would be used for to police the Pelagic territories.

In Pelagia, Kestrel has been built at Marcelli Deep, using 3-D printing. The craft is designed with three propellers – each of which can swivel around three axes, making it very agile in flight. Like it’s raptor namesake, it can also hover in the air as a stable platform, like a helicopter.

When Kestrel travels underwater it uses impellers, hydroplane surfaces and ballast tanks to navigate as nimbly in the sea  as it does in air.

For armaments Kestrel has rail guns, with supercavitating projectiles, and lasers when in air. it is also equipped with two types of camouflage: passive, which allows it to blend in with surroundings, and active, which makes it effectively invisible.

In the story Kestrel is kind of a character, not because it has a personality, but because the audience can build an emotional connection with it – like Millennial Falcon in Star Wars or USS Enterprise in Star Trek.

Of course, the most important thing to me about Kestrel is that I would like to own a prototype.

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